To the legally trained or theespecially litigious civilians, tortsare familiar. Nevertheless, torts rarely make an appearance in the world ofestate planning or probate. A recent California case is an exceptionalexception, advancing a new tort of â€œintentional interference with inheritance.â€
California set the precedent forthis tort in the case of Beckwithv. Dahl, 205 Cal.App.4th 1039 (May 3, 2012). A recent article in Wealth Management titled â€œInterference with Inheritance,â€noted that any time a new rule is created it offers new boundaries to be testedby litigators and, in this case, any jilted family member.
As a result of this case, thereare words to express the illegality of a terrible thing too many people attemptand get away with - interfering and disrupting inheritances or the intentionsof elderly benefactors. On the other hand, those same words can be used tocreate confusion and unnecessary court battles.
When planning your estate, yourend goals likely include ensuring the safety of your choices and the safetransfer of your assets, without litigation and pain for your beneficiaries.Against that backdrop, is tort a trend to watch in a negative light?Alternately, is this development praiseworthy? Only time will tell.
As for now we suggest you remember it's thefamily you're planning for in the first place. Therefore, in order to planproperly, first you need to understand your family. Proper planning ought toinclude discussing these issues with your family and then making the finaldecisions. Communication is key. We've said it before, proper planning startswith a thorough understanding of your needs, goals, dreams and aspirations. Ittakes into account your Values not just your Valuables. It starts with athorough understanding of your family â€“ those who you care about and who willsomeday receive the benefits of your success â€“ and your family's dynamics.Let's work together to implement an estate plan that works for you. Remember,good planning is no accident.